New Waves January 2011

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

New Projects, Publications/Papers and Training Courses

New TWRI projects

The Texas Water Resources Institute recently acquired funding for the following new projects:
  • Water Quality Monitoring in the Buck Creek Watershed and Facilitation of Buck Creek Watershed Partnership The Texas Water Resources Institute and the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon will maintain surface water quality monitoring and data collection at previously monitored sites in the Buck Creek watershed and maintain stakeholder coordination and engagement. Principal Collaborators: Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon, Hall-Childress, Donley County, and Salt Fork Soil and Water Conservation districts, Red River Authority Funding Agency: Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
  • Building Partnerships for Cooperative Conservation in the Trinity River Basin This project will develop a peer network of private landowners engaged in cooperative conservation and land management practices to advance the restoration and protection of water quality within the Trinity River Basin. Principal Collaborators: Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Trinity Basin Conservation Foundation, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Funding Agency: Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
  • Preventing Water Quality Contamination Through the Texas Well Owner Network This project will work to improve and protect both well water and surface water quality by improving water quality awareness and knowledge of best management practices for protecting and improving water quality. Principal Collaborators: Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts Funding Agency: Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
  • Arroyo Colorado Agricultural Water Quality Education Program Project members will develop a focused education effort on cost-share programs and best management practices (BMPs) that protect water quality and educate agricultural producers on how to better produce and manage their acreage to reduce the potential for nonpoint source pollution. Principal Collaborators: Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Southmost and Hidalgo Soil and Water Conservation districts Funding Agency: Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board

New Publications/Papers

Updated Guidelines for Soil Selection and Improvements for Irrigated Pecan Production: Alluvial Soils, S. Miyamoto, Texas Water Resources Institute, TR-394, 2010. Soil types (texture and profile configuration), soil salinity, sodicity, subsoil drainage, and fluctuating high water tables, have the pronounced effect on tree performance in pecan orchards established in alluvial soils. This paper outlines the soil types and soil properties suited or not suited for irrigated pecan production, using the decades-long experience in the El Paso Valley, Texas. Various ways to improve undesirable soils, such as chiseling, trenching, and soil profile modification are also briefly discussed. The information presented would be useful for planning orchard development in alluvial basins of the West.

Bacteria Runoff BMPs for Intensive Beef Cattle Operations, Kevin Wagner, Larry Redmon, Terry Gentry, Texas Water Resources Institute, TR-395, 2010 According to the 2008 Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List, 291 of the 516 impairments (i.e. 56%) were the result of excessive bacteria. Modeling and bacteria source tracking has identified grazing cattle as a source of this bacterial contamination. To help address this, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funded this project to evaluate the effect of stocking rate on pathogen transport from beef cattle operations and develop guidance for landowners on restoring water quality. The project included three tasks: (1) Project Coordination and Administration, (2) Assess Bacteria Runoff from Intensively Managed Beef Cattle Operations, and (3) Technical Transfer. Task 1, Project Coordination and Administration, consisted of the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) preparing and submitting eleven quarterly progress reports and the final project report, holding 25 coordination meetings, and submitting 12 invoices. To evaluate the impact of grazing management on bacterial runoff (Task 2), TWRI and Texas AgriLife Extension Service (AgriLife Extension) installed three 1-hectare watershed sites at the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Systems Center (BCSC), located near College Station. Sites were bermed and equipped with 90o v-notch weirs, ISCO® samplers with bubble flow meters, and a rain gage. TWRI and AgriLife Extension maintained these watershed sites for two years, conducting over 30 site visits.

A Guide to Good Horsekeeping, Emily Moench, Texas Water Resources Institute, EM-107, Dec. 2010. A wealth of knowledge exists regarding management of agricultural livestock, a category that includes horses in Texas. However, horses for the most part, are in a category that is neither livestock nor companion animal. Therefore, owners are left without access to the educational library traditional livestock operations use and they turn to companion animal information sources. While important, these sources tend to focus on management of the horse itself and not the land on which they are kept. This guide is intended to highlight issues often overlooked by horse owners (from breeding operations to horses kept for pleasure) and give them a choice of best management practices to decrease their impact on natural resources. For those interested in any particular best management practice, additional internet resources are listed at the end of each chapter with more detailed information on implementation.

Making a Rain Barrel (Spanish), Dotty Woodson, Brent Clayton, Billy Kniffen, Texas AgriLife Extension Bookstore, L-5518S, Dec. 2010. Rainwater harvesting is an easy way to capture rainwater in a storage container for later use. The water can be used for watering plants and pets or filling bird baths or landscape water features. Capturing rainwater reduces the amount of municipal or well water you need to use and reduces runoff and erosion. With the simple steps described in this publication, you can make a rain barrel for your home.

Stormwater Wetlands for the Texas Gulf Coast, John Jacob, Texas AgriLife Extension Bookstore, SP-385, Dec. 2010. Stormwater wetlands are one of the best ways to clean up polluted stormwater on the Texas Gulf Coast, while also beautifying our communities. This publication reviews the major issues associated with this management practice.

TWRI Water Resources Training Courses

SWAT for Beginners Feb. 7-8, 2011
Advanced Data Processing for ArcSWAT Feb. 9, 2011
SWAT for Advanced Users Feb. 10-11, 2011
SWAT for Beginners April 4-5, 2011

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